“Pedro remains a big part of our future, but we believe making this move is the best way to get him back on track offensively and defensively so that he can help us win games at the Major League level,” said General Manager Neal Huntington.
The Pirates are sending a clear signal with this decision. They are focused on making the playoffs this season and are not going to simply run Alvarez out there everyday if they do not feel he is the best option at third base. Whether that is the smart strategy remains to be seen, but it further emphasizes a shift in organizational philosophy away from a purely futuristic mindset.
It will be interesting to see what happens over the next three weeks or so. If Alvarez finds his stroke in Indianapolis, the Pirates are unlikely to keep him in Triple-A too long. However, this also opens the door for Huntington to add a third baseman via trade. The Pirates have received little production from anyone playing the hot corner this season, so it would not take much to upgrade substantially.
Alvarez, who received a major league contract right out of college, is now out of options. EDIT: Just to clarify, Alvarez’s final option will only be used if he spends at least 20 days in the minors.